Monday, January 30, 2017


I've really gotten into the missionary life this week. When I started, it was like someone yanked me out of the little kiddie pool that was the MTC and chucked me into the deep end. The Spanish, the culture, the life of a real missionary compared to a MTC one was all a bit shocking. Three weeks later, I've still got no idea what I'm doing, and half the time I can't understand what anyone says, but I'm starting to figure out how to tread water. I can (usually) say things to my companion, Elder Bonilla, and (sometimes) I can understand what he says back. It's kinda frustrating at times, but it's also been a great learning experience. I've really taken to heart a passage from the Book or Mormon:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

(Ether 12:27)
This week, my testimony has been tried a lot, and it's also grown a lot as I've learned how to rely on the Savior more. I've had a lot of challenges this week, especially since Elder Bonilla is having me do more things, such as contacting people on the streets, giving more points during lessons, and more. I've gained even more testimony that the gift of tongues is real and that God is with His missionaries.

Quick report on the investigators: Carina has basically disappeared this week. She sent us a couple of text messages around Tuesday saying that a friend of hers got into a car wreck and needs care, so she wouldn't be able to have any lessons or go to church this week. We offered her help, but she said we didn't ahve to do anything. We haven't heard from her since then, and we hope everythign is okay. I really hope she hasn't bailed on us in a rreally elaborate fashion, because she certainly seems like a golden investigator.

On a better note, one of our investigators, Ana Luisa, is almost ready to be baptized. She has been coming to church pretty regularly, and she has been pretty successful in overcoming a drinking problem. She really likes the Gospel, and she has seen the blessings of living it. She is scheduled to be baptized on the 18th of Februrary!!

Also, we found another golden investigator this week: Nora. We found her contacting on Friday. She has never gone to church, but various challenges in her life have led her to seek God. She agreed to come to church (yay!) and to get baptized (WHOO!!). The best part is that all of this was during our first contact with her. No one is ever that anxious to get baptized! We're really excited for her, especially since she actually came to church!! If she keeps coming to church, she can get baptized on the 4th of March. We're so excited!!! Being a missionary is awesome!

Anyway, that's all the time I have for today. Also, the computer at this Internet cafe I'm in won't let me access the pictures on my camera, so I also don't have pictures this week. Sorry. Maybe next week.

Thanks for all your love and support!!

Love from Nuevo Laredo!!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Zone Conference Jan 17, 2017

Sister McArthur posted some pictures from Zone Conference. How fun!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


I vaguely remember Jakob saying something about putting pictures in a google drive so I could access them and so they they would be stored in another location in case he lost his camera. I just figured out how to open that google drive and found pictures!  Here are a few of them that he didn't already included in the emails: (~Camille)


Monday, January 23, 2017

2nd week in the field

Hey all!!
This week has officially been labeled the Week of the Strangest Things I've Eaten on the Mission.
On Sunday, we had lunch with a member family, and for dessert, they introduced me to something rather Mexican. I can't remember exactly what it was called, but it was something like covered apples. (Manzanas cubiertas). Basically, you take an apple, wrap it in this weird caramelly type stuff, and sprinkle 7 tons of chili powder on it. I have a picture to show you what it looks like.

Yes, I ate it:

It was rather weird. My taste buds kinda liked it, but my digestive tract didn't. I spent a long time in the bathroom shortly afterwards.Also, for dinner, we went to another member's house. He is from Honduras, and he is the closest thing I've seen to a redneck out here. He is very outdoorsy, and he made us this dinner of grilled fish. It was so fresh, that it had still had the head and everything on it when we arrived. He basically just grilled it whole. It was really good, and we ended up making fish tacos with them. I really liked it. It was strange, but good:

Also, since our zone is the largest zone in the mission by land area, and since I think we are in one of the biggest areas in that zone, we will be getting bicycles tomorrow. It's awesome because we often spend an hour walking between colonias (neighborhoods) just to make appointments. It's gonna be great!

Also, on a really random side note, I have noticed that people here drive just as insanely as the people in Mexico City. Everyone--including us pedestrians--lives and dies by the rule of If You Can Get Your Car to Fit Between those Other Two Cars or Get Your Body Across the Street Without Getting Crushed by a Car, Go For It. It's utter insanity. Also, I found it weird that it is more common to have Texas plates on your car than Tamaulipas (the state we are in) plates. About half of the cars I've seen (maybe a little more) were bought and registered on the other side of the border because going into the States and buying a car there and registering it are less expensive and less time-consuming than simply staying here and doing it. Only about two-thirds of the remaining cars have Tamaulipas plates, and most of the rest are simply unregistered. Most people don't care. I just thought it was funny.

Anyway, on a more spiritual note, Elder Bonilla and I found a golden investigator. Most people say that they are interested in hearing our message, and we set up an appointment to meet with them, but when it comes time to have the appointment, either we realize that the address they gave us was fake or they simply never appear to be home when we stop by. It's rather annoying. This investigator, however, is different. Carina in a student living with her family, and she not only read the lesson pamphlets we gave her (which is extremely rare), she also wrote down a bunch of questions and comments and we had a great first visit with her. She committed to reading the Book of Mormon, going to church, and even to getting baptized next month (all in the first visit!!!). The drudgery, monotony, and disappoint of the mission life all wash away when you find someone who actually wants to learn and progress. It's refreshing working with those we call escogidos (chosen).

Anyway, I'm really getting to enjoy Mexico. The people here are super friendly, and It's nice to see that the work is progressing, at least for some people. It's only been two weeks and I have already learned a ton. Thanks for all of your love, support, prayers, and emails.

Lots of love from Mont--I mean Nuevo Laredo!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sister McArthur

January 20, 2017
Dear Brother and Sister Schramm,
What a pleasure it was to greet your son as he arrived in the México Monterrey West Mission! This is a picture of your missionary with us, on his first day here in the mission.

The first day included an interview with the President, some instruction and training on the basics of living and working in the México Monterrey West Mission and a couple of hours experiencing missionary service in the field. There was plenty of good food along with some activities that made it a full and exciting day. The second day your son met his trainer and spent some time getting acquainted. After a brief meeting with the President and lunch, all the missionaries were off to their new assigned areas of service. We want to let you know that we have a fun mission blog,, which has lots of information and pictures of the various conferences, trainings, and activities happening in the mission. We invite you to visit it often. We also have a new mailing address for missionaries from the United States that is more secure and is delivered to the mission at least once a month. The company we’re using charges an additional $3.00 when the package arrives that is charged to the missionary. The address is:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Your missionary´s name)
1211 San Dario Avenue #1357
Laredo TX 78040
(Please keep your package to a size that is easily carried by missionaries on buses and the metro!)
We want you to know how much we appreciate your efforts in preparing your son to serve and your sacrifice to help make this opportunity possible for him. You will see blessings in your life and in the life of your missionary as he serves faithfully and diligently here in the México Monterrey West Mission. 
 Hermana McArthur

Thursday, January 19, 2017


These are pictures that Sister McArthur posted on her blog. I HAD to share.  I have gone WEEKS without crying but these pictures did make me cry all over again!

Look who is playing the piano!  Any surprise?


Monday, January 16, 2017

Nuevo Laredo!

This week was rather insane!!

I remember a line from the Princess Bride that exactly summarizes what this email will be: "Let me explain . . . never mind, there is too much. Let me sum up:"
--Inigo Montoya. Here goes nothing:
So we woke up at 1 AM on Monday (the 9th) and took a bus to the airport. During the transfer of bags from the bus to the airport, my big piece of luggage got lost. There was no trace of it, and no one had seen it. Since we all had flights to catch, I had to abandon it. Yay. I was absolutely devastated. (Having had only one hour of sleep in the previous 24-hour period also didn't help). We went through the airport as normal, and I was prepared to accept the loss of my bag, when some airport oficials came up about 10 minutes before my flight left and said that they had found a missing bag and they wanted to know if anyone knew who they belonged to. I got rather excited. I think I may have scared some people. Long story short, I have all my bags here, and faith and prayer can work miracles. Also, I have no idea where they turned up. If the oficials said where, they said it in really fast, incomprehensible Spanish.
We met President and Sister McArthur, from St. George, Utah, and they are officially the coolest people ever. Sister McArthur especially is the sweetest lady I have ever met, and that's saying something.
We spent Monday doing in-field training, and we got to take a one-hour nap :) :) :) . On Tuesday, I met my companion and was assigned to an area. I'd like to introduce Elder Bonilla:
He is from Puebla, Mexico, and he doesn't speak English (YAY!). It's good practice. He has been in the mission for 20 months and in our area for one 6-week transfer, so I'm probably his last companion before he leaves for home. Luckily, he is a great trainer, and he knows a lot. Also, we've been assigned to the Viveros ward in Nuevo Laredo, which is near the border of Texas. It's really interesting not actually being in Monterrey. I'm actually not in the state of Nuevo León, either. I'm in Tamaulipas (if I didn't spell that correctly, someone can correct me).

I don't have a ton of time left to email, so I'll have to explain a little more over the next few weeks. The work so far is great. The members feed us great food, and except for a rather ugly bout of diarrhea and vomiting through Friday night, I've been able to stomach it all.

Anyway, we are out of time for today, so I'll have to end. I love being on a mission. There are lots of challenges, but there are lots of blessings. (I know, that's rather vague, but again, no time).

Lots of love from Mont--Nuevo Ladero!!
Elder Jakob Schramm

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mission Home

Yes, we just arrived in the mission home today. We got up at 1 AM and have been awake since then. Yay!

I don't have a ton of time to email (this is just to let you know that I'm here safe) but I have to tell you that I almost lost my luggage at the airport. We were unloading everyone's luggage from the buses, and I saw my bags leave. I helped unload everyone's bags, and when we were finished, I looked through the pile of bags, but I could only find my little bag. We had no time to search, but it was no where to be found. I ended up going theough security and almost boarded the plane with only one bag when some airport officials came up to me and said that they had found a bag. Whew! Prayers answered! All is well, now. Everyone is here with all their baggage.

Love you all!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Almost done with CCM!!!

Hey all!

Today's email might be a bit short. We're headed out to the temple at 12:00 our time, so I've only got about half an hour. Let's go!

Let's see . . . oh, yes, New Year's. I am still not used to writing 2017 on things. I'll probably get used to it. In November or so. Some of the Elder's in the district got some traditional Martinelli's sparkling cider for Christmas, but since it was a fast Sunday and we start fasting dinner on Saturday, we have decided that we will instead consume it the night before we leave. Good times.

Also, I got some information about travelling. I will have to be ready to leave by by 2 in the very early morning Monday so that I can be on my plane, which leaves at 6. We're all concerned now with the weight of our bags and what we're going to pack and who's going with whom on what flight, and it's all a bit confusing. It still hasn't sunk in yet that I'm going to be leaving here. It felt like I just got here, and it's even weirder thinking that this is just the beginning! I'm super excited for the field!

Also, we're wrapping up all our classes this week. It's kinda sad knowing that I probably won't be seeing these teacher-investigators we have been teaching again. Also, the other district in our branch left the other day, and many of our Latino friends left, also. It's been very weird knowing that we're next. It's crazy how close you can get to some people just by spending 5 weeks with them, 24/7. This has been the week of email address trading, and we're all going to try and stay in contact with one another.

The weather here has been getting rather fierce. I think it gets all the way down to about 50 or 55 degrees in the morning. I usually have to put on a coat. Mercifully, the weather warms up enough by midday that I can return to short sleeves. :) Yes, I've been getting emails from Utah and elsewhere documenting the snow. Yes, I'm a tease. ;) By the way, here is a picture of today's sunrise:

 As far as more daily activities, the only thing I can think of is that the district gave two blessings yesterday. One of our teachers asked for a blessing of comfort, and one of the hermanas has been throwing up a rediculous amount the past two days. She first asked for a blessing from our district leader at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, and the whole district gave her another last night. Both blessings were amazing! It is very humbling to me that God has entrusted some of His power and authority to me, and that it is the same power that Christ and His profets have. I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to use it to serve some of His children.

I don't have a lot of time left, so I'll have to end there. Thanks for all the love and support each of you have given me!

¡Mucho amor de la Ciudad de México!
ps. Every elder is strongly recommended to get a haircut before leaving the CCM. Here is my new do:

¿Les gusta? ;)